The Golden State Warriors have “increasing concern” about the availability of Andrew Wiggins due to local COVID-19 mandates in the Northern California, as Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
Although NBA players will not be mandated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the league informed teams in early September that new laws in both New York and San Francisco regarding vaccine requirements will be enforced for members of the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Golden State Warriors — including for their teams’ players — unless there is an approved medical or religious exemption, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
Roughly 85% of players are vaccinated, a league spokesman recently said, and, in a preliminary memo obtained by ESPN, the league outlined a set of strict protocols for unvaccinated players. These protocols include having lockers far from vaccinated teammates and having to eat, fly and ride buses in different areas.
The league’s protocols are reportedly not final and are still subject to talks with the NBPA.
Wiggins has declined to get the vaccine and said he won’t get it unless he’s forced to, something that could potentially lead to complications with Wiggins being unable to play in any of the Warriors’ 36 home games. Such a scenario obviously be a huge loss for Golden State. The former No. 1 overall pick averaged 18.6 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting a career-best 47.7 percent from the field (38.0 percent from deep).
The absence of Wiggins will be tough to replace especially with the Warriors not expected to have Klay Thompson back in the starting lineup till Christmas at the earliest.
Wiggins’ absence will also make the weight on Stephen Curry’s shoulders heavier. Although Curry can certainly handle it, head coach Steve Kerr will face challenges and he’ll probably not the biggest fan of putting more pressure on his star player.
Perhaps, Kerr, who told local media back in March that he received the vaccine, will be among those within the organization working with Wiggins to potentially convince the forward to reconsider his stance for the greater good of the team.